The City of Mebane remains vigilant as it watches news updates and follows national organizations keeping a close eye on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Major sporting events across the country, including the nearby Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball Tournament, were cancelled, as was the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Locally, numerous events and planned gatherings scheduled for upcoming days and weeks have been cancelled and/or postponed. In addition, Eastern Alamance High School and the local middle schools have been affected in the form of a late Thursday announcement from the state’s governing body for sports at North Carolina public schools.
NCHSAA cancels all sports through April 6
Due to the threat from COVID-19, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) Board of Directors moved to suspend all interscholastic athletics beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020, through Monday, April 6th, 2020. This includes all middle school sports as well as high school sports.
The NCHSAA Board of Directors will assess this situation regularly over the next few weeks. This includes all workouts, skill development, practices, and contests.
This decision will directly impact all of Eastern Alamance’s spring sports, most likely resulting in a jumbling of the schedule in April and May, once the schedule resumes.
Friends of Alamance Libraries Book Sale Cancelled
Due to the COVID-19 Virus (Coronavirus) the Friends of Alamance County Libraries is postponing its Spring Book Sale. originally scheduled for March 13-23, 2020.
“We hope that everyone stays well during this trying time and we look ahead to selecting an appropriate date to hold our sale,” said the FOL Volunteers in a press release. “We regret any inconvenience caused by this decision, but for the safety of our volunteers and customers we feel it imperative to postpone this upcoming sale.We are disappointed, but feel that this rescheduling is in everyone's best interest. Please stay tuned to our webpage and Facebook page for more information on future sale dates.”
ABSS Coronavirus Update
The Alamance-Burlington School System provided another COVID-19 update on Wednesday, March 11. As of the morning of Friday, March 13, Alamance County has not identified any cases of COVID-19, and Alamance-Burlington School System facilities remain open and functioning under normal school hours.
Dear Alamance-Burlington Families,
We want to keep you updated on ABSS plans and preparations in the event that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 occurs in Alamance County. While there are no reports of the virus locally, and Alamance County is currently considered to be at low risk, we are preparing for the possibility that the illness could make its way to our area.
ABSS already has many health protocols in place due to cold and flu season. At this time of year, our school nurses monitor student illness reports, trends, and absenteeism and are in frequent (often, daily) contact with the Alamance County Health Department (ACHD). Together we have weathered similar community health situations such as the H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic in 2009 and other more recent common illness outbreaks like Pertussis (Whooping Cough).
The public health experts at the ACHD let us know when cases of certain communicable diseases are confirmed and they issue guidelines for action and communications. We are prepared to implement any extra precautions and protocols that they deem appropriate. Upon advice by the ACHD, we also are monitoring the latest information from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the novel COVID-19 virus.
ABSS has partnered with our contract custodial service provider, The Budd Group, to ensure that our cleaning staff is well stocked with an adequate supply of commercial grade disinfectants appropriate for effective cleaning of touch surfaces in schools. These supplies include highly effective cleansers, recommended by the CDC, for combatting the novel COVID-19 virus, if needed.
As added precautions to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community, ABSS is prepared to restrict public access to schools, limit large size gatherings, and cancel field trips if necessary. Our district team of administrators continues to meet regularly to plan and prepare for possible situations that could occur if the novel virus appears in our community or in one of our schools.
Good hand washing and cough/sneeze etiquette remain some of the most effective ways to combat the spread of communicable illnesses in our community, including the spread of flu, the common cold and the novel coronavirus. Our teachers and school personnel continue to remind and encourage students to:
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid contact with others who are sick. Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with others. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
We are preparing our schools, staff, and students, but we know we are stronger as a district when we work together with our families, at school and at home. Please continue encouraging students to wash their hands regularly. If your student is sick, or showing signs of illness, please keep them home. Don’t hesitate to communicate with your school if you have concerns.
For coronavirus information updates, the Alamance County Health Department recommends these websites: cdc.gov/coronavirus or ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus . In addition, the North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. ABSS will continue to keep families updated on our plans and preparations.
Sincerely, Bruce Benson, Ed. D. Superintendent
In addition to Dr. Benson’s update, upcoming ABSS events have been cancelled. The 2020 ABSS College Fair scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at Holly Hill Mall has been cancelled. With recent travel restrictions put in place by many colleges and universities related to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 representatives from many institutions are unable to attend, prompting the cancellation of the local community event.
Alamance Achieves cancelled the Alamance County Kindergarten Fair event scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at Holly Hill Mall. It is possible that this event could be rescheduled, but no date has been set at this time.
Alamance County Sheriff’s Office COVID-19 Update
Because of the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19), effective immediately, the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office is suspending fingerprinting and restricting visitor access to the Detention Center.
It is important to know that there are no cases of Covid-19 among our employees or inmates. This action is being taken as a precaution.
The Sheriff’s Front Offices will remain open. The Magistrate’s offices in the Detention Center will remain open.
Effective immediately, any Defendant who has been Court-ordered to serve an intermittent sentence involving weekends or weekdays, will not report to the Alamance County Jail to serve such sentences through April 30, 2020. All intermittent sentence will recommence beginning Friday May 1, 2020.
By order of: D. Thomas Lambeth, Jr.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
If impacted, residents may contact Probation/Parole for more information.
State of North Carolina COVID-19 Update
Governor Roy Cooper announced on Thursday, March 12 that North Carolina is taking proactive steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our state in the face of growing cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 around the nation and here in North Carolina. Included in today’s guidance is a recommendation to cancel or postpone gatherings over 100 people and telework if possible.
“North Carolina has more tough decisions ahead, and we will be ready to make them. We have the benefit of learning from other countries and other states about the best ways to fight this pandemic,” said Governor Cooper. “We know that if we can slow the spread of this virus now, then fewer people will be infected or become seriously ill. And we can be more effective in avoiding an overload of our medical system. It will save lives.”
North Carolina currently has 15 positive cases reported with more expected.
NC DHHS is making the following recommendations for all North Carolinians to reduce the spread of infection while we are still in an early stage in order to protect lives and avoid strain on our health care system. NC DHHS is making these recommendations for the next 30 days and will re-assess at that point.
1. SYMPTOMATIC PERSONS
If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.
2. HIGH RISK PERSONS WITHOUT SYMPTOMS
NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
People at high risk include people:
- Over 65 years of age, or
- with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or
- with weakened immune systems.
3. CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES
NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.
We do not recommend pre-emptive school closure at this time but do recommend that schools and childcare centers cancel or reduce large events and gatherings (e.g., assemblies) and field trips, limit inter-school interactions, and consider distance or e-learning in some settings. Students at high risk should implement individual plans for distance or e-learning. School dismissals may be necessary when staff or student absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a student or staff member.
NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible. Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
6. MASS GATHERINGS, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL EVENTS
NC DHHS recommends that organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.
7. MASS TRANSIT
Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.
As the number of cases of COVID-19 rise in North Carolina and the United States, and with the designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the state is responding with a whole government response. COVID-19 is a new infection that is particularly severe in older persons and those with medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and weakened immune systems.
At this time there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent it. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes. Community-based interventions can also help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.”
Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission. These measures are most effective when implemented early in an epidemic. We are at a critical inflection point where we may have the opportunity to slow the spread of this epidemic by taking proactive steps now.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures [click.icptrack.com] that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus [click.icptrack.com] and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus [click.icptrack.com], which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.
Going forward, the Department of Health and Human Services will update the count of positive test results daily on online at dhhs.nc/coronavirus.
N.C. Attorney General: “Do the Right Thing For Safety”
Attorney General Josh Stein released the following statement to event venues, organizers, and performers after Gov. Roy Cooper recommended that large gatherings be canceled or postponed to minimize the spread of coronavirus in North Carolina:
“I’m asking event organizers in North Carolina to do the right thing: please cancel or reschedule your events and refund consumers appropriately,” Stein said in a press statement. “I’m also asking venues, performers, and businesses to refund customers who are exercising caution by choosing not to attend large gatherings. Customers who are prioritizing their health and the health of their loved ones should not lose money in this rapidly-changing situation. I urge you to treat North Carolinians fairly and respectfully during this time. I also recognize the damaging impact this crisis is having on businesses, and my office and I are willing to discuss with event organizers how to best resolve particular situations.”
“While North Carolina is under a state of emergency, our price gouging law is in effect. I will work to hold any business accountable that tries to harm consumers by charging too much for goods and services. If you are concerned about price gouging or being treated unfairly by a business, please file a complaint with my office at ncdoj.gov/complaint [ncdoj.gov] or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.”